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Windows 7 Media Center gets Mediaroom support — Engadget January 7, 2010

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During the Microsoft keynote, Ballmer mentioned that customers of IPTV providers like AT&T U-Verse will be able to watch TV on Windows 7 PCs, but he glazed over the how. The how is Windows 7 Media Center — according to the press release that is available after the jump — and there’s no special hardware like a tuner required. The when wasn’t mentioned because it is dependent on the provider, but when they do upgrade to Mediaroom 2.0, Media Center fans will have access to all the same content as a set-top like HD and on-demand, which is something pretty cool.

via Windows 7 Media Center gets Mediaroom support — Engadget.


There’s a Mediaroom App for That November 10, 2009

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Microsoft fared badly trying to break into the cable TV world, but it’s had a great deal more success with IPTV. And now that its Mediaroom software has gained widespread global adoption, Microsoft is anxious to keep developers engaged with the platform and pumping out new TV apps. Last month the Redmond giant hosted its third annual Mediaroom Developers Conference. Tracy Swedlow, long famous in the interactive television industry, reports that three applications earned top honors in the event’s ritual app contest.

Coming in first was ES3’s Interactive Workout application for creating a personal workout routine with how-to videos. Second prize went to Pushbutton’s Time Capsules app, which provides a way to navigate content created at specific moments in time. And third-place honors went to Accedo Broadband’s ZapClub application, featuring social networking features for TV shows including live tweets, Wikipedia information, and the ability to rate and share shows.

In the US, Microsoft’s primary Mediaroom deployment comes through AT&T’s U-Verse service. While not as aggressively marketed as the other big stateside telco TV offering, U-Verse continues to plug along quite successfully, with projected revenue hitting $2 billion this year. The continued development of TV apps for U-Verse is what should help set AT&T’s service apart from its cable competitors in the near future. In particular, the IP foundation makes these apps theoretically portable. Want to access that Interactive Workout on both your TV and your iPhone? There’s an app for that… or there soon will be.

via There’s a Mediaroom App for That.

IPTV news – New report identifies IPTV market leaders October 23, 2009

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MRG has released its latest ‘Global IPTV Market Leaders Report’, identifying the top equipment and technology vendors worldwide as of October 2009, with little change in many segments.

The report, which tracks the top 120 IPTV vendors in 24 regional sectors, relates that there are currently more than 800 IPTV services in operation globally, with over 80 new operators starting new services since March 2009, of which most were in North America, Europe and the Rest of World regions.

In the IPTV Access sector, Alcatel-Lucent was found to hold a 51% share of the worldwide access market, as well as furthering its strength as a systems integrator and holding the number two position in the global middleware sector (behind Microsoft).

In the Content Security sector, Verimatrix retains its number one global market ranking, holding a 26% share of the global market (up 2% since March 2009), and with strong positions in all four of the regional markets.

In the Set-top Box sector, Motorola still dominates the global market, according to the report, with a 28% share globally – up 5% since March 2009 – followed by smaller and highly aggressive companies such as Amino, ADB and Netgem. Over 25 companies were found to compete in the STB market worldwide, which often represents over 60% of CapEx for IPTV operations.

In the Video Headend Encoders sector, Motorola also maintains its number one position with a 38% share of the worldwide market, while Ericsson/TANDBERG Television follows strongly with a 34% share (up 3% from March 2009) and is described as “closing the gap” on Motorola in this market sector, where the top five vendors are found to hold about 94% of the global market, leaving only 6% to the other six competitors.

In both the Middleware and Video-on-Demand (VOD) sectors, a crowded field of companies continue to struggle to compete against the Microsoft “juggernaut”, according to the report.

“Significant growth of China’s IPTV subscribers enabled both Huawei and ZTE to improve their rankings in several sectors,” said Jose Alvear, MRG Analyst. “These grew out of new developments at China Telecom and China Unicom as they expanded into different provinces.”

via IPTV news – New report identifies IPTV market leaders.

IPTV news – “Our Tier-1 customers have a big pipeline of apps on the way” September 13, 2009

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IBC 2009: Having secured customer wins with many of the world’s larger IPTV operators for its Mediaroom software platform, Microsoft is now focusing on consolidation – by enabling its existing operator clients to offer their end-customers new applications and services, as well as cut down costs, and bring Tier-2 and Tier-3 operators into the Mediaroom fold.

Ted Malone, Senior Director of Product Management for the TV, Video and Music Platforms business at Microsoft, acknowledges that operators such as Deutsche Telekom, AT&T and Swisscom are now looking at ways to differentiate their service and offer something compelling out of the marriage between broadcast and broadband services: “Our Tier-1 telco customers have a big pipeline of applications on the way,” he said. “There is now developer momentum behind the Presentation Framework for Mediaroom, and many of these applications can be introduced in a very short space of time,” he said, quoting the multiview service offered by AT&T in the US, as well as an MSN Video application that was developed by a summer student at Microsoft over a few weeks.

The introduction of virtualisation support for the Mediaroom platform (coming out of the Windows Server 2008 team) has also helped Microsoft to address both the smaller Tier-2 and Tier-3 customers that were previously looking at smaller-scale solutions, and the larger Tier-1s such as AT&T that wish to drive down the number of servers to be maintained. It also makes it considerably easier to deploy lab systems to current and potential customers, according to Mr. Malone.

via IPTV news – “Our Tier-1 customers have a big pipeline of apps on the way”.

Nearly 4mn IPTV subscribers using Microsoft Mediaroom September 9, 2009

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Microsoft has seen the number of IPTV subscriber households using its Mediaroom middleware platform more than double in the 12 months to September 2009, rising from 1.5mn to nearly 4mn, including almost 2mn in the EMEA region.

In the past six months alone, operators including du in the UAE, Beeline in Russia, Hellas Online in Greece and SureWest in the US have announced the launch of IPTV services based on the Microsoft Mediaroom platform. These join existing customers including Swisscom in Switzerland, Deutsche Telekom in Germany, Portugal Telecom and AT&T in the US, amongst others.

“This growth, during challenging economic times, reinforces the value proposition these operators are offering to consumers and has allowed them to retain subscribers, increase their overall ARPU and secure solid market positions with their triple- and quad-play offerings versus entrenched subscription TV operators in their regions,” said Ted Malone, Senior Director of Product Management for the TV, Video & Music Platform Business at Microsoft. “We’re now seeing our Mediaroom customers introduce their own interactive apps and what I call ‘triple-screen’ services to offer personal and connected entertainment experiences.”

Microsoft has also started tailoring the platform to smaller operators, having recently introduced virtualisation support for Mediaroom in order to reduce operator costs.

via IPTV news – Nearly 4mn IPTV subscribers using Microsoft Mediaroom.

IPTV news – Deutsche Telekom launches Interactive TV Award 2009 August 4, 2009

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Deutsche Telekom has launched its second annual Interactive TV Award today, in the process opening the contest to a wider spectrum of participants with a number of new categories.

This year, the award is divided into three categories: the ‘MPF’ Award for innovative developers, the ‘Freestyle’ Award for creative minds, and the ‘Audience’ Award, aimed at interactive TV users.  Winners of the MPF Award may even get to see their ideas implemented on Deutsche Telekom’s IPTV service ‘T-Home Entertain’ as early as 2010.

Participants in the MPF Award will be able to implement their creative concepts more freely this time round, due to the flexible IPTV development environment afforded by the Microsoft Presentation Framework (MPF), which developers will be able to use to experiment with their ideas.  The five finalists of this award will each be awarded €10,000, and the final winner will receive an additional €30,000.

The main focus for the Freestyle Award is for innovative ideas for interactive television, with feasibility of the ideas playing “only a secondary role” in the category.  The three finalists of this award will each receive €5,000, while the final winner will receive an additional €15,000.

The Audience Award is described as being less about professionals and more about asking interactive TV users about their ideas and perceptions of the future of television.  Participants are invited to submit ideas in the form of videos, pictures or text on the website of the Deutsche Telekom Interactive TV Award website.  Winners will not be determined by a jury (as with the other awards), but instead by lottery draw, with prizes ranging from a Microsoft Xbox 360 to a subscription to Deutsche Telekom’s IPTV service.

via IPTV news – Deutsche Telekom launches Interactive TV Award 2009.

Germany poised to reach 1.8mn IPTV subs by end-2010 June 17, 2009

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The number of German households receiving IPTV services is set to reach 1.2mn at the end of this year and rise to 1.8mn before the end of 2010, according to new figures from the German Association for IT, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM), released at the BITKOM IPTV summit in Berlin.

These figures compare to an estimated 180,000 subscribers to IPTV services reported by BITKOM for the end of 2007 and an estimated 536,000 subscribers for the end of 2008.  “Television over the Internet is the television of the future,” said Achim Berg, Vice President of BITKOM during his speech at the IPTV summit.  “The online generation expects individualisation and interaction that only Internet television provides.”

The three major providers of IPTV on the German market are incumbent Deutsche Telekom, HanseNet and Arcor.  Deutsche Telekom recently reported that it had sold 600,000 subscriptions to its IPTV service ‘T-Home Entertain’ by the end of the first quarter of this year, while HanseNet had passed 30,000 customers for its own service ‘Alice homeTV’ by the end of March.  No subscriber figures for Arcor were available at the time of publishing.

via IPTV news – Germany poised to reach 1.8mn IPTV subs by end-2010.

beeTV Raises $8 Million For Stunning Personal TV Recommendation System June 4, 2009

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The TV guide doesn’t know who you are, what your favorite movie genre is, what you’ve watched in the past, what your mood is, and so on. Because of that, it is incapable of providing you with any recommendations about what to watch on your TV, or which videos you’re likely going to enjoy consuming right now on your PC or even your mobile phone. With the sheer volume of available channels and VOD content out there, that’s becoming quite a problem for many people. But if beeTV has its way, that problem could soon become a nuisance from past times. […]

BeeTV aims to use the capital to ‘change the way we watch TV’ by pioneering what it calls a Personal Content Channel (PPC), a personal TV suggestion engine that helps you find your way in the ocean of VOD titles and channels out there by surfacing the best choice for you based on your profile and even the mood you’re in.

Here’s how they pitch it:

“beeTV offers the platform operator’s subscribers their own Personal Content Channel (PCC), which resides in their set top box (whether IPTV, cable, satellite, mobile or DTT), their mobile phones and their PC. This unique Personal Content Channel identifies the subscriber, searches all the content sources, including broadcast TV, subscription TV, VOD, SVOD, PPV, and PVR/Catch-up and pushes the relevant content to that subscriber.”


via beeTV Raises $8 Million For Stunning Personal TV Recommendation System.

Germany lagging behind in IPTV boom May 27, 2009

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Germany lagging behind in IPTV boom.

Telco giant Deutsche Telekom to roll out interactive service

Lacking the 800-pound gorilla that is Hulu in the U.S. or BBC’s iPlayer in the U.K., the online video business in Europe’s No. 1 TV market remains in its infancy. An upcoming study by Berlin-based consultancy Goldmedia found that by 2014, less than 8% of German households will use Internet TV, suggesting it will remain a niche market here for some time to come.

But that isn’t the opinion of Deutsche Telekom, which in the coming weeks will roll out an interactive service that is betting heavily on a growth market for IPTV. The service aims to provide exclusive online video content — such as live soccer matches from Germany’s Bundesliga — along with open-access material on demand to all of Telekom’s mobile, online and digital TV platforms. Speaking at a Wednesday conference co-sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter and German media consultancy HMR, Harald Eisenacher, Telekom’s head of products and innovation, said the company has agreements with some 350 content providers to feed its IPTV machine. These range from the major film studios — with which Telekom has output deals for online content — to German production outfits that supply Telekom’s new stand-alone Web series portal 3min.de. Telekom owns T-Online, Germany’s largest Internet provider, and T-Mobile, the country’s No. 1 mobile carrier and exclusive iPhone partner. Linking up those millions of customers with a unified online video service could be the 800-pound gorilla German IPTV has been looking for.

Even Goldmedia’s study concedes that Telekom, with its 10 million broadband customers, is the only player in Germany likely to make IPTV as a business. The study forecasts Telekom turning a profit with Internet TV within the next four years.

“Android may have its timing right to become a TV platform” May 8, 2009

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Murmurs of a Google-backed middleware platform for set-top boxes and other consumer electronics devices appear to be gaining substance – Android for TV is coming and soon, and it may have perfect timing, according to some industry watchers. […]

Benjamin Schwarz, Principal Consultant at Farncombe Technology, believes that the timing could be optimal for an Android platform: […]

“Targeted advertising technologies are being tested in many IPTV deployments. Android may have its timing right to become a TV platform to enable this, and I’ll have even greater regrets about not having bought Google shares at US$ 80 when they floated.  Its clear that Android as a mobile platform is to stop Apple defining what the Internet means to mobile phone users. I can’t help but assume that Google must have a similar agenda on the TV.”

This year “will be a critical year to see if Android will be successful,” believes Jim McGregor, Chief Technology Strategist at In-Stat. “So far, it appears to have more market momentum and fewer pitfalls than many of the other Linux-based, open-sourced solutions in the market”, as well as having the all-powerful Google brand behind it.

via IPTV news – “Android may have its timing right to become a TV platform”.